Energy groups raise concerns about NEG

The Australian energy industry is concerned the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) may make it difficult for competition to enter the electricity market.

Stakeholders gathered at the Energy Security Board public forum on Monday to discuss the NEG framework.

Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) policy and regulation director Mark Grenning told the forum the policy could see power prices pushed up.

“The overriding impression is of a very costly implementation process and governance prices,” Mr Grenning said.

“There is a concern that we end up with a gold-plated market solution in the same way we ended up with a gold-plated network. We must learn from the past that this is not the end result.”

Minerals Council of Australia climate change, environment and energy director Patrick Gibbons echoed the fear of rising electricity costs.

“Will the National Energy Guarantee lead to greater market concentration in the power sector? Unless it is addressed in a meaningful way the NEG will not deliver and leave consumers shortchanged,” Mr Gibbons told the forum.

At the forum, Energy Security Board chair Dr Kerry Schott urged states not to reject the NEG framework and go it alone on energy policy.

“States running off and doing their own things with their own designs adds additional costs for everybody, for meeting targets for the NEG and their own targets,” Ms Schott said.

The forum was also the scene of a protest with activists gathering on the stage shortly after the event began.

Holding a banner reading “Don’t reNEG on clean energy”, the Australian Student Environmental Network protested the policy’s impact on renewable energy.

The NEG was proposed by the Federal Government last year to “deliver more affordable and reliable electricity”.

The new power plan is made up of two parts, a reliability guarantee and an emissions guarantee, that will require energy retailers across the NEM to deliver reliable and lower emissions generation each year.

The Energy Security Board, which hosted the forum, will undertake further consultation and design work on the NEG before presenting recommendations on the draft outline of the measure to the COAG energy council in April.